President Trump has given stranded Holland America Line ships the green light to dock in Florida.
Zaandam has been stuck at sea since mid-March after there was a coronavirus outbreak onboard and several Latin American countries refused to receive the vessel.
There have been 83 people on Zaandam, and 14 on its sister ship Rotterdam, who have suffered with influenza-like symptoms.
However, there are now nearly 1,200 guests who are fit to travel, 45 who are isolating and mildly ill, and fewer than 10 who need immediate critical care on the shore.
Four older people, including one Briton, have died amid the Zaandam outbreak.
Florida’s governor initially ruled the ships should not dock in Fort Lauderdale, but President Donald Trump has now intervened.
At a White House press briefing yesterday (1 April), Trump reportedly said: “We have to help the people. They are in big trouble no matter where they are from. Happen to be Americans, largely Americans, but whether they were or not, they are dying so we have to do something and the governor knows that too.”
All guests who are fit to travel, as per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, will be driven in sanitised coaches straight from the ship to flights home.
A statement from the cruise line said: “We appreciate the support of President Trump in resolving the humanitarian plight of our guests – 311 of whom are American citizens and 52 of whom are residents of Florida.”
Guests who are still ill will continue to isolate onboard.